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Carnochan, Janet 

Niagara one hundred 
years ago 


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One Hundred Years Ago. 


The Ancient Capital and its Vicinity. 









One Hundred Years Ago. 

The Ancient Capital and its Vicinity. 


Published by Direction of the Lundy's Lane 
Historical Society. 

Printed at the Trikixe Office, Wellasd, Oxt. 

^ ^ ( 


Of the cities and towns of Ontario, none possesses a history so 
ancient and interesting as the old Town of Niagara, situated at the 
junction of Niagara River with Lake Ontario. The town is full of 
traditions of the past ; the ground on which it stands is saturated 
with history from the time of the first settlement of our country by 
the United Empire Loyalists, in 1784. 

As the first seat of Government of Upper Canada, it was the 
scene of the establishment of British constitutional forms of Gov- 
ernment, and the place where met the first Parliament, whose 
enlightened legislation was made memorable for all future time by 
its justice, freedom and benevolence. 

In the fiery trials of an unjust aggressive war, which raged round 
for three years, Niagara was burnt to ashes — a memorable event 
which was followed by consequences that shortened the war and 
forced the conclusion of peace. The town rose again from its ashes 
as beautiful as ever. Its eventful history has never been formally 
recorded, although often sought after. To treat in full would need 
volumes. The following pages contain an outline — no more is 
promised — of the great men and varied events that have made 
Niagara conspicuous in the history of Ontario. 

The present Centennial year seems appropriate for loving, faith- 
ful remembrance of the loyal old town, such as the writer of this 
— Miss Janet Carnochan of Niagara — dedicates to all Canadians. 

W. K. 

Niagara, Ont, June 10, 1892. 


I I 




— OR — 

Niag-apa One Hundred Years Ag-o. 

kT has frequently been remarked, by those who visit this historic 
ground, that nothwithstandingniuch apparent interest in the sub- 
ject, it is still very difihcult to obtain much definite information 
regarding the many points of interest in our neighborhood. That some 
attempt should be made to bring together a few facts seemed desirable, 
and the Rev. Canon Bull, the respected President of the Lundy's Lane 
Historical Society, some time ago asked the present writer to attempt 
the task. This must prove the apology for the appearance of this 
imperfect sketch. That something of the kind had not been attempted 
years ago, and by an abler pen, is to be regretted, when some of the 
old pioneers were living, and could tell what they had seen, and done, 
and suffered ; but now, alas, none remain to tell the tale. Fortunately 
for the attempt now made is it that, for some years, the present 
writer, in the course of reading, has jotted down anything bearing on 
the subject, and now finds these memoranda a slight store of material 
from which to draw. 

This is indeed historic ground, and many heroic deeds were here 
performed. To present a consecutive history of these is not intended, 
but merely to give a few strands, which may be expanded and strength- 
ened, relating to Forts Niagara, Mississagua and (leorge, Butler's 
Barracks, Navy Hall, and the old town known by so many names. 
A place that can boast that in it was held the first Parliament for 
Upper Canada, that it was the scene of a battle, that in it was pub- 
lished the first paper in Upper Canada, that it contains almost the 
oldest church records in Ontario, that it was given to the frames by 
the red hand of war, that here resided two governors, who, if not 

possessed of the eloquence and literary skill of a Dufferin or a Lome, 
shewed such zeal, courage, wisdom and ability, in the trying hour of 
need as Sinicoe and Brock ; all this, combined with the quiet beauty 
of lake and river, forest and plain, may surely justify us like St. Paul, 
who boasted that he was the inhabitant of "no mean city," in rejoic- 
ing that we have a heritage of which we may justly feel proud. 


The earliest record we have of the spot brings up the name of 
the chivalric La Salle, that man of iron, whose adventurous career 
has been so well described by Parkman, who at each period of his 
life when the full cup of success was about to be placed to his lips 
saw it dashed to the ground. No life more full of high courage, of 
startling vicissitudes, of weary journeys, has been recorded. For a 
century this fort was held by the French, and the fieur-de-lis floated 
high ; then, for nearly forty years, the meteor flag of Britain : the fort 
was then peacefully given up by Jay's treaty, and the Stars and Stripes 
waved to the breeze for twenty years, till the fort was taken at the 
point of the bayonet by our forces in 1813, and the Union Jack again 
fluttered from the flag-stafi" for a year, till by the treaty of Ghent the 
star-spangled banner once more floated, as it now does, after nearly 
eighty years. 

On 6th December, 1678, a small vessel of ten tons from Fort 
Frontenac entered Niagara river; the small company of sixteen men, 
headed by La Motte and Father Hennepin, chanted Te Deiim Lau- 
damus, after a stormy passage, and found a village of Seneca 
Indians. La Salle's vessel following, loaded with cordage, anchors, 
etc., brought from France for his scheme of Western exploration, was 
wrecked three miles west of Niagara, but the supplies were saved. 
We read that in constructing a stockade or palisaded storehouse the 
men used hot water to soften the frozen ground. The anchors and 
cables were saved from the wreck, and the small vessel was hauled 
to Lewiston, and lading, etc., carried twelve miles to Cayuga Creek, 
where the Criftin, the first vessel made by the pale face, that sailed 
Lake Erie, was built. (See the "Shipyard of the Griftin," by Reming- 
ton of Buffalo, for the discussion as to the site of building operations.) 

The stockade at Fort Niagara was burnt in 1680, rebuilt by Denon- 
ville, of stone, the plan being to build a stone fort large enough for a 
garrison of 500 men. Col. Dongan of New York remonstrated 
against building this fort at Ouniagarah, as it was then spelt. The 
garrison of one hundred left by Denonville in 1687 perished by 
disease or was cut to pieces by the Senecas, all but ten men who 
escaped, and the fort was abandoned. A book of travels by 
Charlevoix mentions a block house here in 1721, and several French 
officers with three or four houses ; strengthened by four bastions, in 
1726. In 1749 a stone fort, which was one of the chain of forts, in 
that magnificent plan of the Gallic mind, that was to extend to 
the Gulf of Mexico, and shut the English in to a narrow strip on the 
Atlantic seaboard. But another magnificent plan of conquest had 
been formed by Wm. Pitt, the carrying out of which was 
fortunately entrusted to strong and able hands. 

On I St July Gen. Prideaux, the British commander, attacked 
Fort Niagara with a force of 2000, and 1000 Indians. Reinforce- 
ments came to help the garrison ; the river it is said was black with 
boats which landed above the Falls, and thence to Lewiston by 
land, but were skilfully intercepted and defeated by Sir \^'m. John- 
son, the second in command, and, hopeless of other help, the fort 
capitulated on 24th July, nearly two months before Wolfe took 
Quebec. Gen. Pouchol, the French General, marched out with the 
honors of war on 26th July, the soldiers laying down their arms on 
the shore of the lake. Gen. Prideaux had been killed on the 20th, 
and Sir Wm. Johnson says, in his diary, his body was buried in the 
chapel, with that of a relative of his own, Col. Johnson, "with great 
pomp," Sir William being chief mourner. It is an interesting fact that 
in the Servos burying ground may be seen the grave of the widow of 
this same Col. Johnson, who, by the inscription, was buried almost 
half a century later, at the age of 104. Two streets of our town are 
named respectively after the generals in command, Prideaux and 

While in the hands of the French, there stood in the centre of 
the Fort enclosure a cross eighteen feet high, with the inscription 

"ReKii., Vine, Imp., Chrs." In a footnote to one of the beautiful 
Canadian Idylls, our poet says, "the interpretation of which inscrip- 
tion admits of as much ambiguity as a Delphic oracle," but in the 
ballad it is expressed Regnat, Vincit, Imperat, Christus. 

An extract from the Gen. Lee papers, published by the New- 
York Historical Society, gives a picture couleur de rose of this spot, 
two weeks after the fort was taken. "Gen. Lee to ^Vm. Bunbury, 
Niagara, Aug. 9th, 1759," — after an allusion to the capture of the 
Fort : " The situation of this place and of the country around it are 
certainly most magnificent. It stands on Lake Ontario, at the mouth 
of Niagara river, eighteen miles from the Great Falls, the most 
stupendous cataract in the known world. Had I a throat of brass- 
and a thousand tongues, I might attempt to describe it, but without 
them it certainly beggars all description. The country resembles 
Eckworth Park, if not surpasses it. For an immense space around 
it is filled with deer, bears, turkeys, raccoon, in short all game. The 
lake affords salmon and other excellent fish. But I am afraid you 
will think I am growing romantic, therefore shall only say it is such 
a paradise and such an acquisition to our nation that I would not 
sacrifice it to redeem the dominions of any one electoral province 
of Germany from the hands of the enemy." 

In Sir William Johnson's administration of Indian affairs we 
have many glimpses of Fort Niagara and of the places around. The 
common, now the Military reserve, on this side of the river, was an 
Indian encampment for Six Nations to receive annual gifts and allow- 
ance from Commissioners for British Government. The Indians- 
were proud that they were the allies not the subjects of the British 
king. From Fort Niagara, in 1763, marched troops to Fort Schlosser 
with stores — marched alas, only to meet their death. The larger party,, 
which was sent to their relief, met the same fate. The plan conceived 
and carried out by Indians to massacre them at a particular spot, 
where a careless guard would be at the mercy of a hidden foe, was 
•only too successful. Only a few escaped to tell the tale of this plan, 
bold and skilful in formation, masterly in execution, gained, as so 
many Indian attacks, by secret and deadly ambuscade. The spot 
has since been called the Devil's Hole. 


On 26th June, 1764, Sir Wm. Johnson met at Fort Niagara over 
2000 Indians from all parts of the continent. Wigwams surrounded 
the fort for weeks while they waited for the Seneca Indians. At last peace 
was made, iSth July, Sir Wm. Johnson shewing his usual tact and firm- 
ness in dealing with these children of the forest, who resjjected the suc- 
cessful warrior and diplomatist. They gave up on this occasion four 
miles on each side of the river from Lake Erie to Ontario. In the 
time of the Revolutionary War this was a busy place, as several regi- 
ments of the regular army were statoined here. In 1783 commenced 
the general movement to the west side of the river, but this fort, with 
some others, was not to be given up til! terms of treaty were carried 
out with regard to recompensing U. E. Loyalists, whose property had 
been confiscated. In 1792, when first Parliament was opened at 
Newark, troops were brought from Fort Niagara, which was still a 
British fort, to add to the pomp of the occasion. A guard of 26th 
Cameronians is mentioned, and the guns of the fort gave a salute at 
the hour of opening. In 1796, by terms of Jay's treaty, the British 
flag was lowered, stores were removed to Fort George and the stars 
and stripes were unfurled to the breeze. In the war of 18 12, when 
Fort George had been abandoned by the Americans after seven 
months' occupation, when the British troops marched in, a plan was 
speedily formed to take possession of Fort Niagara, and on i8th 
December, 181 3, four days after the conflagration of the town, a 
small force, consisting of portions of looth and 4Tst Regiments, under 
command of Col. Murray, started from a point four miles up the 
river at ten at night, crossed over and landed at Youngstown, where 
was a detachment from the fort. A chosen body went forward, 
peeped in at window and surprised those on guard ; bayonets alone 
were used, for not a shot was fired on either side. In silence the 
force marched on to the fort, which was taken with considerable 
bloodshed — 300 prisoners, 3000 stands of arms and an immense 
quantity of stores captured. The commander, Leonard, returned in 
the morning only to find himself a prisoner. By the treaty of Ghent, 
the fort, after a year, was restored. In the life of Brock, Fort Niagara 
is described as being "a regular fortification, unlike other Canadian 
forts, along that frontier, built of stone with breastworks and every 


necessary ai.pendage, mounts between twenty and thirty pieces of 

ordinance, and contains a furnace for heating hot shot." 

A more gruesome tale than that of open and honorable warfare is, 

that m this stronghold was confined Morgan, the betrayer of the 

secrets of Masonry, and the building is still shewn from which it is 

said he was taken to be drowned in the waters of blue Ontario. 

In " Dead Sea Roses," perhaps the most beautiful of the Canadian 

Idylls, the vicissitudes of this fortress are told. Space will only 

permit a short extract : 

"Two grassy points, not promontories, front 
The calm blue lake. The river flows between 
Bearing in its full bosom every drop 
Of the wild flood that leaped the cataract. 
It rushes past the ancient fort that once 
With war and siege and deeds of daring wrought 
Into its rugged walls — a history 
Of heroes half forgotten, writ in dust. 
Two centuries deep lie the foundation stones 
La Salle placed there, on his adventurous quest. 

There came a day of change. The summer woods 
Were white with English tents, and sap and trench. 
Crept like a serpent to the battered walls. 

A generation more, Niagara's stream 
Scored in deep lines that severed kindred lands 
Of one made two, both from the heroic loins 
Of England's greatness. 

A generation passed. 

The sword was drawn again, and many fell. 
Then shook Niagara fori to topmost tower 
At dead of night. The wild alarum rose — 
The grey old ramparts rang with sudden cheer. 
Such cheers, as mark an English fight begun, 
Or ended when 'lis won." 


We have no record of settlements on the Canadian side of the 
river previous to 1777, but there are plans in Crown Land Depart- 
ment, July 29th, 1784, relating to the site of Navy Hall ; by order of 
Haldimand, militia reservation was to Four Mile Creek for Butler's 
Rangers. Again, that the land board met in 1789 and we find at 
different times the names of Augustus Jones, surveyor, father of late 
Rev. Peter Jones, missionary, 1787, 1791, and Philip Frey, D. W. 
Smith, 1794. 

1 1 

In 1783 commenced the great influx of loyalist refugees, many 
of whom had come hundreds of miles through the wilderness. Many 
articles are still to be seen in the neighborhood that were thus 
brought with much pains and care and which have a later history of 
interest, having been perhaps buried in the earth to save from the 
Indians or other foes ; here a brass kettle (a valuable article in those 
days,) there an old fashioned chair, a few pieces of precious china or 
treasured silverware, which had a century before crossed the Atlantic. 

The history of the exile of the U. E. Loyalists, an exile without 
parallel in history, except perhaps the expatriation of the Huguenots 
in the time of Louis XIV., has never really been told as it deserves 
to be. Tens of thousands left homes of plenty and came to a wilder- 
ness, an unbroken forest! And why? A poem by Rev. Leroy 
Hooker answers this. Space only allows a brief extract : 

"But, dearer to their faithful hearts 
Than home, or gold, or lands, 
Were Britain's laws and Britain's crown 
And Britain's flat^ of long renown, 

And grip of British hands. 
They looked their last and got them out 
Into the wilderness, 

The stern old wilderness — 
But then — 'twas British wilderness." 

And in Mr. Kirby's Hungry Year : 

" They who loved 
The cause that had been lost — and kept their faith 
To England's Crown, and scorned an alien name, 
Passed into exile ; leaving all behind 
Except their honor. 

Not drooping like poor fugitives they came 
In exodus to our Canadian wilds. 
But full of heart and hope with heads erect, 
And fearless eyes, victorious in defeat. 
With thousand toils they forced their devious way 
Through the great wilderness of silent woods 
That gloomed o'er lake and stream, till higher rose 
The northern star above the broad domain 
Of half a continent, still theirs to hold, 
Defend and keep forever as their own." 

Across Niagara River, says Bryce, came convoys of emigrant 
wagons, herds of cattle, and household goods. Stores were issued from 
the fort for two years, to those who were in need, and in 1 787-9-91, 
when the crops failed from drought, and rations were issued from the 
fort and Butler's Barracks, we read of a visit from H. R. H., the 



Duke of Kent, when stores were being served out to the suffering 
farmers. He rode on horseback from Navy Hall to visit Niagara 
Kalis. Dined at Mr. Hamilton's, and witnessed a war dance by 
Mohawks, headed by Brant. 

Col. John Butler was Indian Superintendent, and in 1784 a 
great Indian council was held at Niagara plains, where the Mississaguas 
met the Six Nation Indians. In a letter in the Mohawk language 
from Chief David Hill, 29th May, 1784, is mentioned that there was 
a feast and great smoking of the pipe of peace, when six miles on the 
bank of the Grand River was given to the Six Nation Indians. On 
the commons at Fort Mississagua were Indian wigwams, and bark 
canoes were drawn up on the shore. This place became a depot for 
the North West Fur Co., also goods of all kinds were shipped to the 
North West. 

In a manuscript I have seen of a British officer at Fort Niagara, 
1789, it is said that when Indians came for Government stores 
mothers would keep their little children in for fear of them. In the 
famine of that year people went to the woods for roots, grains, etc., \ 
made tea of sassafras and hemlock. The "Hungry Year," one of 
the Canadian Idylls, by Wm. Kirby, F. R. C. S., describes sternly 
and pathetically the sufferings of these days thus : 

" For thousands came ere hundreds could be fed. 
The scanty harvests gleaned to their last ear 
Sufficed not yet. Men hungered for their bread 
Before it grew, yet cheerful bore the hard 
Coarse fare, and russet garb of pioneers. 

The sun and moon alternate rose and set, 

Red, dry and fiery in a rainless sky, 

And month succeeded month of parching drouth, 

That ushered in the gaunt and hungry year, 

The hungry year whose name still haunts the land 

With memories of famine and of death. 

Corn failed and fruit and herb. A brazen sky 

Glowed hot and sullen through the pall of smoke 

That rose from burning forests far and near ; 

Slowly the months rolled round on fiery wheels. 

The savage year relented not, nor shut 

Its glaring eye, till all things perished— food 

VoT present and for future use were gone." 


When Upper Canada was by Constitutional Act of i 791, formed 


into a separate Government, Col. J. Graves Simcoe was made its 
first Governor. The settlement at this side was at first called West 
Niagara, then Loyal Village, Butlersbury, from the leader of the 
Rangers, whose name has been preserved in Butler's Barracks. 
Simcoe called his capital Newark, and his first Parliament met here 
on 17th September, 1792. The writs were issued in Kingston and the 
members sworn in there in July, the names being Wm. Osgood, Jas. 
Baby, A. Grant, P. Russel, Robt. Hamilton, R. Cartwright, J. Monro. 
Among the members elected we find the names of A. Campbell, 
Nat. Pettit, Isaac Swayzie, Ephraim Jonel, Hugh McDonnell, 
Jeremiah French, McComb, Rawling, Smith, Spencer, Young, White, 
Booth ; Philip Dorland, a Quaker, could not take the oath, and was 
replaced by Peter Vanalstane. The speaker was McDonnell and the 
advisers were Small, Russel, Ridout, Jarvis, Smith, Chewitt, Talbot, 
Gray, Littlehales. The session lasted four weeks, seven members of 
the Legislative Assembly being present. 

It is one of the vexed questions, not yet settled, where the first 
sitting was held, each contestant scouting the statement of his 
opponent. Some claim for Navy Hall this honor, others the old 
Indian Council House, again the residence of Simcoe, the Court 
House built in the vicinity of the present buildings, and again, 
these first legislators are described as meeting under trees, with 
the lofty arch of heaven for their canopy. Now as there were five 
sessions of Parliament held here, it is quite possible that in each and 
all of these places may our pioneer legislators have met on some 
occasion, for generally these local traditions have some substratum of 
truth. Another statement is that the first meeting was in P^ort 
Niagara. The manuscript before referred to affirms that the first 
meeting was "in a marquee tent near Council Chamber between 
Butler's Barracks and Navy Hall, a building on a hill near some 
cherry trees." Another account says, it met in a new house of Gov. 
Simcoe's above Navy Hall, but this must mean the session next 
year, for this residence was not then erected. There was much state at 
the opening. A guard of honor of the 26th Cameronians from Fort 
Niagara, a band of music and colors ; Butler's Rangers and Queen's 


Rangers formed the military escort, and the guns of Fort Niagara 
gave a salute at the hour of openmg. 

On 4th June, 1793, His Majesty's birthday, says the Upper 
Canada Gazette, pubHshed here, Gov. Simcoe held a levee at Navy 
Hall ; under the charge of the Royal Artillery the field pieces above 
Navy Hall and the guns of the garrison fired a salute. At one 
o clock the troops in the garrison and at Queenston fired three 
volleys. ''In the evening a ball and elegant supper in the Council 
Chamber, most numerously attended." Of this ball another brief 
notice is extant. Three distinguished Americans were among the 
guests. Col. Pickering, Gen. Lincoln, Mr. Randolph, U. S. Com- 
missioners to Western Indians. In private journal of Gen. Lincoln : 
"The ball was attended by about twenty well dressed and handsome 
ladies and about three times that number of gentlemen. They 
danced from 7 to 11, when supper was served with very pretty taste. 
The music and dancing was good, and everything was conducted 
with propriety." 

In June, 1795, Simcoe entertained the Duke de Liancourt for 
eighteen days ; took him across to visit Fort Niagara, and dined with 
officers there. He says that thirty artillerymen and eight companies 
of the 5th Regt. formed the garrison. The meeting of Parliament 
is thus described by him : " Draped in silk, Simcoe entered the hall 
with his hat on his head, attended by his adjutant and two secretaries 
and a retinue of fifty men from the fort. Two members of the 
Legislative Council gave notice by their Speaker to the Assembly. 
Five members of the latter appeared at the bar, and the Governor 
delivered a speech." 

Simcoe met his last Parliament at Newark on i6th May, 1796, 
which he prorogued on 3rd June, being ordered to West Indies. By 
the time of second session the new Government House was erected, 
standing nearly where our present Court House stands ; engineer's 
quarters were built about the position of Queen's hotel. Simcoe 
himself lived in Navy Hall in i 792. When he built his new resi- 
dence on the hill above, it is said he constructed fish ponds supplied 
with water from a spring yet to be seen. 



Governor Simcoe must have been a most energetic explorer of 
his new domains, for we have four excursions described on a map : 
(i) Route from Niagara to Detroit on foot and in canoes, P'ebruary, 
1793, taking five weeks; (2) Yoik to Thames, Detroit, Miamis, April, 
'794 j (3) York to Kingston in open boat, December, 1794; (4) 
Niagara to Long Point, 1795, on foot, boats, portage, returned in 
September. All this shews that he spared no labor, and must in such 
weather and with the primitive means of conveyance, and the roads, 
or rather want of roads, of those days, have endured many hardships. 
We know too that in arranging for new settlers he was indefatigable 
and shewed great zeal and kindness in allotting them to their new 
homes, for to every man, woman and child two hundred acres of land 
were given, tents were put up for the new comers till better shelter 
could be provided. 

Our first Governor dispensed hospitality with such an open hand 
that the Indians gave him the name of " Deyonguhokrawen, one whose 
door is always open." When the Commissioners arrived at Queen- 
ston, he sent to them at once an invitation to be his guests during 
their stay in Canada. Brant, who held a high rank among the 
Indians, being absent, they waited over two months to meet him. 
The French Count, an exile during the time of the French Revolu- 
tion, received also a warm welcome from his traditional foe. 

Some of the acts of these primitive legislators were the introduc- 
tion of trial by jury, fixing the toll by millers, reward for killing wolves 
and bears, (ten and twenty shillings respectively,) arranging for gradual 
abolition of slavery, providing for gaols and court houses, also grammar 
schools, of which Niagara is the fourth established in the province, 
the seal having the words Niagara District Grammar School, estab- 
lished 1808. 

In 1796 Fort George received the flag, garrison, guns and stores 
from Fort Niagara. As the town had been named Newark by 
Simcoe and there was considerable illfeeling about his removal of the 
Government to York, we find that the name Niagara was resumed by 
act of Parliament in 179S. It has always seemed difiicult to explain 


the statement in all our histories that Simcoe removed his capital on 
account of Niagara's frontier position, when he must have known of 
its frontier position when selected for the capital. But it -really had 
not a frontier position then, as Fort Niagara was not yet given up, 
and thus the capital was well defended, but when by Jay's treaty the 
fort was surrendered and an alien flag flaunted in constant sight, the 
cai)ital was removed. 


By report of travellers, we find there were in the town one hun- 
dred houses in 1792 ; in 1794 one hundred and fifty. Mr. Isaac 
Weld's travels in 1797 give an account of town and mention build- 
ings and trees. In the "Life and Times of Simcoe," by D. B. Read, 
Q. C, is given a picture taken by Mrs. Simcoe shewing Navy 
Hall then. There are supposed to have been four buildings, 
all of wood. One is mentioned as long and low ; there 
may be seen one filling this description, used afterwards in 
the memory of many living, as a barracks. There are two 
doors facing the river, on each the words, ''28 men," may be seen 
painted. This is believed to be one of the few buildings which 
escaped the conflagration in 1813. Mrs. Simcoe's sketch, made in 
1794 from the deck of a government sloop lying at the mouth of the 
river, shows two buildings, one at right angles, the other parallel to 
the river. The lady of our first Governor must have been possessed 
of considerable artistic skill, there being in existence many of her 
sketches of Canadian scenery. U'hile Governor Simcoe no doubt 
planned Fort George and carried out many improvements, it is quite 
certain that to Gen. Brock we owe much of the extensive earthworks 
thrown up. It is now difficult to trace the position of former build- 
ings, as the hand of time alters so soon the general appearance ; the 
moat is gradually filling up, and as the grounds, consisting of many 
acres, are under cultivation many depressions have almost disappear- 
ed, and of the buildings nothing remains but the ruins of one powder 
magazine ; and farther on, and quite out of sight from this ruin, 
another brick building of one room in tolerable preservation, with its 
walls covered with names. A little further up the river may be 



traced the shape of the Half Moon Battery, and beyond runs a road 
along the bank, through the the Oak Grove, called Lover's Lane, 
while the grove around has long been known by the name of 


On the morning of 13th Oct., 181 2, heavy firing was heard, as 
Van Renssalaer with a force of 4000 was crossing from Lewiston. 
Brock, with a small force, (his men being scattered, it not being 
known at what place the attack would be made,) hastened to Queens- 
ton, but his death early in the day was avenged ere many hours. Rein- 
forcements arriving, the invading force was either captured or driven 
over the banks, 900 prisoners being taken, but the victory of Queens- 
ton Heights was a costly one, since Brock was slain. In reading his 
life we find many references to Fort George, in his letters, to this 
spot whence he rode in the early dawn of that October morning on 
his favorite horse. Nelson, to lay down his life in the service of his 
country and be carried back and buried here, amid the tears of his 
soldiers and the Indians, who loved and honored him, — while from 
the opposite fort the enemy's guns paid their tribute of respect to the 
hero. The body lay in state at Government House, (a second at- 
tack being hourly expected,) and was buried on the i6th Oct., in the 
northeast bastion of the fort, one which had been constructed under 
his orders, but the body was afterwards removed to the scene of his 
glorious death on Queenston Heights. Round these earth-piled 
ramparts wander visitors, and still arrowheads are found, and buttons 
bearing the names of regiments stationed here. In the account 
of the funeral, among the pall-bearers of Gen. Brock and his adjutant 
McDonnell, we find the well-known names of Surgeon Muirhead, 
Lieuts. Jarvis and Ridout, Capt. Crooks. Mr. Dickson, Lieut. 
Robinson, Major Merritt, Lieut. Col. Clarke, Col. Butler, Col. 
Claus, Maj. Gen. Sheaffe. 

At a general council of condolence, held at the Council House, 
6th Nov., 1812, present, representatives from Six Nation Indians, 
Hurons, Chippawas, Potawatamies, in the address occur these words : 
" Brothers — We, seeing your faces darkened with grief, your eyes dim 


with tears, your throats stopped with the force of your affliction— 
with these strings of wampum we wipe away your tears— eight strings 
of white wampum. A large white belt over his grave, that it may 
receive no injury." 

In this grave at Fort George the bodies lay for twelve years, till 
13th Oct., 1824, when they were re-interred, 5000 persons being 
present. Alike were seen the picturesque dress of the Highlanders 
and the no less striking garb of the red men, the relatives of McDonell 
being in Highland costume, and young Brant from Grand river, with, 
other chiefs, being in full Indian dress. The procession took 
three hours, including stoppages, to reach the Heights, and the 
lengthened column winding slowly up the steep ascent was a striking 
and impressive spectacle. 

This monument having been partially destroyed, a meeting was 
held in July, 1840, to provide another. Eight thousand were present, 
evidencing that the name of Brock was not forgotten. Another im- 
posing sight was seen on the banks of our beautiful river. Ten steam 
vessels from Toronto, Cobourg, Hamilton, and Kingston, arrived at 
Niagara at 10 o'clock and ascended the river, the banks lined with 
spectators, while was heard afar shouting from ship to shore, and 
shore to ship. A picturesque feature of this occasion was the 
presence of the famous 93rd Highlanders in the national dress. 

Travellers have vied with one another in describing the wonderful 
panorama of river, lake, and plain, which may be seen from this bold 
escarpment with the varied tints from brown to gold, from tender 
green to rich crimson, stretching below, while, far as the eye can 
reach, extends our noble lake, and on the verge of the horizon Toronto, 
our Queen City, may often be seen. The description given by the 
Duke of Argyle, and that by Charles Dickens, are perhaps the most 
striking. Brock's letters from Fort George contain some interesting 
items. Writing to Sir Geo. Prevost, April 22, 181 2, he speaks of 
preparing a temporary magazine for reception of spare powder at Fort 
George, and of excavation of the ditch for the proposed fortification 
of the spot on which the government house stands. The poet Thos. 
Moore says in a letter : "To Col. Brock of the 49th, who commanded 


at the fort, I am indebted for kindness during the fortnight I 
remained at Niagara." A visit to the Tuscarora Indians from this 
point is also mentioned by him. In a late paper is quoted a sonnet 
written by the late Bishop Strachan in 1820, he having visited Fort 
George in 1819, which may be given as interesting to us from the 
subject as well as being the production of one who may be called 
that great Canadian ecclesiastical statesman : 


" Why calls this bastion forth the patriot's sigh, 
And starts the tear from beauty's swelling eye ? 
Within its breach intrepid Brock is laid. 
A tomb according with the mighty dead. 
Whose soul, devoted to his country's cause, 
In deeds of glory sought her first applause. 
Enrolled with Abercrombie, Wolfe and Moore, 
No lapse of time his merits shall obscure ; 
Fresh shall they burn in each Canadian heart, 
And all their pure and living fires impart. 
A youthful friend rests by the hero's side, 
Their mutual love death sought not to divide. 
The muse that gives her Brock to deathless fame 
.Shall in the wreath entwine McDonnell's name." 

Some interesting items may be gleaned from a statement dated 
Oct. 15th, 1812, written by Lieut. -Col. Evans, 8th, King's Regt., on 
whom the command at Fort George devolved after Gen. Sheaffe left 
for Queenston on the 13th. He says : " There was a brisk cannon- 
ade from Fort Niagara on the town and fort, and the gaol and court 
house were soon wrapped in flames from hot shell. Other houses 
were soon seen to be on fire, and militiamen were sent round collecting 
all the water buckets from inhabitants, and great zeal and energy 
were shewn in putting out fires, great efforts being made at same 
time to cripple the enemy's guns, but this was not accomplished till 
many buildings were burnt to the ground, amongst them, besides 
gaol and court house, the chief engineer's quarters. The more im- 
portant ones, however, Royal Barracks, Block House (full of 
prisoners) King's stores, though repeatedly fired, were by great efforts 
saved." He then sent off 140 men of 41st and every other available 
man to Queenston, and was soon after told that the magazine was 
on fire ; in it were 800 barrels of powder. Capt. Vigoreux and many 
volunteers were soon on the roof and the fire extinguished — a daring 
deed. By means of a bend in the river a battery of the enemy had 


enfiladed the barracks, magazine and stores, the latter being partly 


But to return to the progress of events ; for six months no 
further attack was made, but after the taking of York, early in May, 
a large force, military and naval, of 6000 crossed over under Chauncey 
and Dearborn, but did not attack the town till 26th May. The guns 
from Fort Niagara joined in the attack, the people in the town taking 
refuge in their cellars. A landing was made on Crooks's farm, 27th 
May, on what is now known as the Chautauqua grounds. A small 
log house was some years ago pointed out to me, into which the 
wounded were carried, and which was described as having its floor 
swimming with blood. The battle raged till Vincent, finding his 
ammunition exhausted and having lost heavily from the much superior 
numbers, gave orders to blow up the fort and retreated to Queenston, 
thence to Burlington Heights. A tablet in St. Mark's, at the north 
door, is to four men, all belonging to the place, who, while repelling 
the attack were ordered to retreat, went back to spike the cannon in 
their charge ; just then the heavy fog lifted for a moment and they 
were all four shot down. 

p-or seven months the town was in the hands of the Americans, 
there being no one in it but old or disabled men, with women and 
children. St. Mark's church, which had been taken for the wounded 
after the battle of Queenston Heights, was now used as a barracks. 
Two flat tomb stones show the marks of the butchers' cleavers in cut- 
ting the meat served out to the soldiers. Through the graveyard may 
be seen depressions left by the rifle pits constructed. 

The American force soon found itself shut in a small area of 
about three miles, embracing the town and fort, while around was a 
cordon of British forces. An incident of this time is recorded by 
Mrs. Edgar, in the Ridout papers — one of that family being commis- 
sariat on the Niagara frontier : " Skirmishes were frequent; prisoners 
often taken; soldiers deserted from both sides." In a letter from St. 
Davids, 20th July, 1813: "Advanced to within one and a quarter 
miles of the town; fight in Ball's field. Royals, King's, and 700 In- 


dians posted three miles from the the town." 24th Aug. : " Lieut. 
Col. O'Neil with thirty of his dragoons dashed into town ; scoured 
several streets and went as far as Presbyterian church. Col. Harvey 
called at old quarters and received a box with valuable articles he 
had left there. Brisk fire from garden walls and houses, but we re- 
tired regularly and with order." 

Another incident of this period is related by Capt. W. H. Merritt, 
in his journal. "On 6th July a skirmish took place near Squire P. 
Ball's. A little boy, John Law, whose father had been dangerously 
wounded and made prisoner at Fort George on 27th May, and whose 
brother had been killed in the same action, and who was determined 
to revenge this loss, was missed from his home. Search being made 
he was found by his mother when the engagement was nearly over, 
on the field of battle, which he refused to leave, and was carried off 
in the arms of his mother by main force, she receiving a wound her- 
self. During this engagement the ladies were witnesses from the 
windows of the residences of J. and P. Ball." 

Finally, when on 13th Dec. the Americans determined to evacuate 
the fort, as the British were advancing, half an hour's warning was 
given the people that the town was to be given to the flames. Dr. 
Withrow tells of the wife of Councillor Dickson, lying ill in bed, car- 
ried out to the snow in the bedclothes, and lying watching in that 
bitter December night the destruction of her home with its valuable 
library. Many tell of vain efforts to save their homes, putting out the 
flames while the soldiers went round with torches setting on fire. 
Sometimes the fire would be put out by the owners, only to be lit 
again and again, the owners standing by to see the- eventual destruc- 
tion of all they valued. 

A pathetic little story was told me lately, as narrated to my 
friend by her grandmother, whose husband was a prisoner at Fort 
Niagara. The family had friends in the country, who came in with 
sleighs and took to their home the family of little children, the 
mother and grand parents, one of whom had that day fallen and 
broken a hip bone. The hardships of that night in the snow proved 
fatal to one of the children, and the mother refused to let it be buried 


till permission could be obtained through friends for the father to come 
and see his dead child. This being finally gained, the father, blind- 
folded, was brought through Fort Niagara and across the river and 
allowed to see performed the last rites to his child, and then returned 
a prisoner. Still in her possession are the old country chests which, 
with their valuable contents, were buried for safety in this time of 
alarm. How vividly was told of the store, with its rich piles of goods 
from Montreal, all given to the flames, and of the vain efforts to 

save it. 

The British forces marched in only to find smoking ruins, but 
the flight of the enemy had been so hurried that many of their tents 
were left standing, and a few buildings on the outskirts of the town 
were left uninjured. The people had taken refuge in barns in the 
country, but many were still standing around valued articles of furni- 
ture in the street. r- 


Of Fort Mississagua (the name is spelled in many ways) we 
know little in its early days. An act passed in 1S03 at York refers 
to the lighthouse at Mississagua Point at the entrance to the Niagara 
River, with reference to the tolls collected. In the "Gleaner," 1818, 
Gibraltar Point and Mississagua Point are referred to, and tonnage 
duties to defray expenses. That at York is spoken of as a gleam 
like a taper from w^ant of proper reflector, yet duties are rigidly en- 
forced. Another account refers to the flagstaff. It is believed that 
the earthworks were marked out previous to 1796, but the tower in 
the centre was constructed in 1814, from the bricks in the ruins of 
the town. The traces of fire may still be plainly seen in the materials 
of its massive walls. Many families were scattered never to 
return, so that it was necessary to gather up the debris. Although 
the history of this fort is not so romantic as that of the stronghold 
opposite, nor of Fort George, if each particular brick in its walls 
could tell its tale what a record should we have of that December 
night, as well as of many incidents in the early days of Newark. 

"The fragments of its walls and hearths were built 
Into that stern memorial of a deed 
Unchivalrous. " 

Here were quartered soldiers of the regular army during the 



following years. Many can recall the appearance of the brick tower 
with its cannons on the wall, and in the enclosure piles of cannon 
balls in the usual pyramidal form. Then, at the recall of troops to 
Britain, the fort was gradually allowed to fall into decay, and was an 
unwholesome and unpleasant huilding to visit. Accidentally a fire 
occurred and all the woodwork was destroyed, and it was a ruin 
indeed. The strong palisades, worn away by the encroachment of 
the lake, or carried off for firewood, suggested to the writer the 
words of the following sonnet, which appeared in " The Week," 
words which, now that the fort is in better repair, do not seem so 
appropriate. A small grant having been given by the Dominion 
Parliament a roof has been put on with dormer windows, from which 
a grand view of river, lake and plain, may be obtained, but it is to be 
regretted that in thus making it weatherproof the idea of a fort seems 
to have been lost sight of. 

" Deserted, drear, and mouldering to decay, 

A square low tower stands grim and gray and lone 

From Newark's ruins built, its walls storm blown, 

When sword and flame alternate seized their prey. 

Ontario's waves in rage or idle play 

Sap palisade and fort with ceaseless moan. 

Shall we historic relics see o'erthrown, 

And not a voice be raised to answer nay ? 

Four races here for empire sternly fought, 

And brightly gleamed the red man's council fire, 

The beacon lights the dancing wave and lea, , 

Where brave LaSalle both fame and fortune sought. • 

In fratricidal strife fell son and sire 

Where friends stretch hands across a narrow sea. " 

Near this spot was the old Blue House, remembered by some, 
used by government officials in the engineer department. On the 
military reserve near used to be encamped Mississagua Indians, as 
mentioned by an early writer in time of Simcoe. 

butler's b.\rracks. 

Southwest of the town lies what was known as Butler's Barracks. 
The buildings are all of wood ; one of logs, it is claimed, was in 
existence before the war of 1812, and this and the Indian Council 
Chamber near, afterwards known as the Military Hospital, were left 
untouched. The site of the latter building can easily be identified 
by the trees which stood near it. This was used for divine service 


either before St. Mark's was built or when unfit for use. An old lady 
not long deceased often told that in it she was baptized. It was 
afterwards used for volunteers on service, but was burnt down about 
ten years ago. Farther on, a row of cherry trees marks the boundary 
of what was called the " Colonel'.s," the residence of the Commander 
of the Royal Canadian Rifles. The alliterative name, Butler's 
Barracks, brings up a host of baleful memories. Here were quartered 
the Rangers under Capt. John Butler, who had fought at Ticon- 
deroga and Fort Niagara, having taken part- with many others now 
here in the defence of the colonies from the French and Indians ; 
he was Deputy Superintendent of Indians. He came here in 1775, and 
with his forces received grants of land. He died in 1796, his name 
previous to this appearing in the records of both St. Mark's and St. 
Andrew's churches, and was buried on his farm in what is known as 
Butler's graveyard. The farm has since passed into the hands of 
strangers. The enclosure, with a few broken tombstones and a pro- 
faned vault, is about two miles from the town. Much obloquy has, 
it is believed unjustly, fallen ui)on the name of Butler, but gradually 
the mists of party feeling are being cleared away, and much so-called 
history is shown to be unreliable. 


Between the Barracks and Navy Hall is an oak grove, skirted 
with hawthorns, to which is attached a legend. In the memory of 
some now living these trees were called the " French Thorns," and the 
story is that French officers stationed at Fort Niagara brought the 
slips from France, and thus we have in June such fragrant snow-white 
blossoms. The tradition has been woven into a ballad in one of the 
Canadian Idylls. It is matter of deep regret that these poems, com- 
memorating as they do so many stirring events of Canadian history, 
can be nowhere bought in book form, having appeared in magazines 
and in pamphlet form given to friends. Among them are " Dead 
Sea Roses," "The Hungry Year," " Pontiac," " Stony Creek ;" the 
ballad "Spina Christa," part of the "Queen's Birthday" appears in 
Lighthall's " Songs of the Great Dominion." The peculiar martial 
and musical ring charms the ear, while the tragic story appeals to the 



heart. By any curious explorer the thorn trees the poet must have 
had in his mind's eye may be easily found, twisted and distorted as 

" O fair in summer time it is Niagara's plain to see, 

Half-belted round with oaken woods and gjreen as grass can be, 

Its levels broad in sunshine lie, with flowerets gemmed and set. 

With daisy stars and red as Mars, the tiny sanguinet. 

Hard by the sheltering grove of oak, he set the holy thorn — 

Where still it grows — 

Contorted, twisted, writhing, as with human pain to tell." 

The trees are of two varieties, called by the children early and 
late " haws," and give as much pleasure in October with the rich 
scarlet fruit as early in the season with their snowy blossoms. 


Many vessels were built at the dockyard here, where hundreds 
of workmen were employed, and the launching of a ship was a 
favorite sight. In 1795 the French Count mentioned before tells 
of six vessels, gun boats and schooners, two of them on the stocks. 
The Navy on the lake was really a branch of the Royal Navy. The 
first Canadian merchant vessel was built here in 1792 ; the York, 
of 75 tons, in iSoo. At the Dockyard of the town were 
built the Gore, Queen, Admiral, Porcupme, Eclipse, City of 
Toronto (the first of that name was launched on New Year's day, 
1840,) Traveller, Transit, Chief Justice Robinson, Arabian, Canada, 
America, Peerless, Zimmerman, and City of Toronto (second.) On 
an old warehouse may still be seen certain names which are often a 
source of wonderment toennuied travellers waiting for a boat or train, 
and who exercise their ingenuity and imaginative powers in explain- 
ing these cabalistic signs, which refer to the period of Niagara's 
paliny days when many vessels called here, this being a distributing 
point. Space was kept in the warehouses for the lading of different 
vessels, whose names appear in faded letters : Great Britain, 
Cobourg, William IV., St. George, United Kingdom, Commodore 

At this wharf landed Gen. Drummond at daybreak, July 25th, 
1814, in H. M. ship the Netley, with 800 men, having left York on 
Sunday evening. He marched his force to Lundy's Lane, and fought 


after that march till midnight, maintaining possession of the field 
after the most sanguniary and closely contested battle of the war. 


Much curious light on the manner of life in those days may be 
gained by a few quotations from the early papers. The first news- 
paper published in Upper Canada was the "Upper Canada Gazette" of 
Newark, the first number, April i8th, 1793. In 1798 it is dated 
West Niagara, and in 1799 was removed to York, and the same year 
the " Canada Constellation " was started in Niagara, but expired in one 
year, as did the "Herald," suspended in 1802. In 181 7 appeared the 
" (Cleaner," by Mr. Heron. Since then the " Reporter," " Spectator," 
"Chronicle," "Mail." Dr. Scaddinginhis "Torontoof Old," where much 
curious information has been industriously gathered together, mentions 
as a remarkable fact that the " imposing stone" used in printing the 
"Constellation" by Tiffany in 17 99, was used in the office of the "Niagara 
Mail" as late as 1870. Extracts from these early papers are often 
amusing, and throw much light on the manners of those primitive 
times, often clearing uj) some disputed historical point. In the first 
number, 15x9)^ inches, $3 per year, by Louis Roy, is mentioned 
that a brewery is to be started, $1 per bushel being offered for barley. 
"May 30th, ID guineas reward offered for Government grindstone, it 
having been stolen from King's Wharf, Navy Hall." Although there 
had been an act against slavery, it had only provided for the gradual 
emancipation, and we find advertisements frequently referring to 
slaves, as in 1797 : " Wanted to purchase, a negro girl from 7 to 12, 
of good disposition, W. & J. Crooks, West Niagara." 1802 : "For 
sale, a negro man, Isaac, has had smallpox." In the "Gleaner," pub- 
lished every Thursday, price $4 : " Arrived from York, Mary Anne, 
with passengers, Dec. 17th, 1817." "Dec. 18th, sailed for York, 
with cyder and passengers." " Jan. 24th, sailed with cyder and 
apples." We see from this that even then fruit was an export to 
Toronto. Books advertised for sale are standard works and high 
priced : " Scott's Lady of the Lake, ;£\, 8s. Burns' works, 4 vols., 
jQl, 6s, 6d. Watts' works, 9 vols., ^7, ids. ?Iogg's "Queen's Wake," 
j^i, 2s, 6d." "January i6th, disagreeable and melancholy news of 

.1 ■ 


the death of the amiable Princess Charlotte of Wales." "Married, 
at the house of Thos. Racey, on 17th inst., by Rev. Dr. Addison, 
Lieut. C. C. Alexander, R. E., to the amiable Miss Jane Racey." 
The following notice of a marriage is very different from the mono- 
tony of the present records : " Married, at Youngstown, by E. 
Duty, Esq., Mr. Thos. xMcQuarls to Miss Ann Snure, both of Niag- 
ara, U. C. 

" Not all the dangers of the deep, 

Nor evening blasts that blow, 

Can make the lover's passions sleep 

Or proffered vows forgo ; 

But they with joy before the altar kneel, 

Secure each bliss and every promise seal." 

"Melancholy accident. Ferry boat from Fort Niagara, crossing, 
became entangled in the ice ; two men drowned in spite of Royal 
Engineers and guard of 70th Regt. 'on the beach. A heavy fall of 
snow, bank of ice, surf, &c." "2nd April, 1818— Opening of naviga- 
gation. Mary Anne sailed for Grimsby with load of flour for Pres- 
cott. Saw mill of Mr. Servos, Four Mile Creek, destroyed by fire, 
30th March. Schc)oner Mayflower to sail for Kingston ist May. 
The master and owner has invented a machine to propel the vessel 
at the rate of three miles per hour. Arrived, schooner Hector with 
lumber. Steam vessel Frontenac, May 14th. Death of Peter Secord 
in Talbot road, in his 103rd year — longevity ascribed to remarkable 
temperance — one of first settlers. He killed four wolves last year 
and walked twenty miles to make affidavit to obtain wolf bounty. 
Advertisement of J as. Crooks, Postmaster, for carrying mail from 
York to Niagara once or twice a week. New gaol and court house, 
but set in that swamp." This is now the Western Home of Miss Rye, 
who has done so much philanthropic work in providing homes for 
destitute children. A letter complaining of parents listening to the 
complaints of their children against teacher. Another from Scotch- 
man, complaining of insulting remarks to his countrymen. St. 
Andrew's day celebrated at Queenston, Robt. Hamilton in the chair ; 
President in Highland garb ; dinner at Mr. Pointer's tavern ; some 
toasts were: " Weel turned dafifin," " Memory of Gen. Brock," 


" Memory of Robbie Burns," " May Sons of Caledonia ne'er feel 
want nor want feeling." 

Niagara was still the military headquarters in 1826, as in a 
Toronto paper, June 10th, it is stated 70th Regt. Highlanders arrived 
at York from Niagara. 


This sketch would be still more incomplete than it is were no 
reference made to the churches, with two of the oldest records in the 
province. The present writer, in a paper read before the Canadian 
Institute, has told part of the story, and at the risk of repetition a few 
items must be given. The record of St. Mark's dates from 1792. In 
that century there have been but three incumbents. The first, the 
Rev. Robt Addison, sent out by the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel, who ministered to the country around for many miles. 
The register, as kept by him, has many quaint remarks, and tells a 
history of the population of that time, Indians, negroes who were 
slaves, high English officials, U. E. Loyalists, waifs and strays from 
all lands. His library, now in possession of the church, has many 
books dear to the bibliopolist. 

The next incumbent, who had also been curate to Rev. R. 
Addison, was Rev. T. Creen, a graduate of Glasgow University, in 
whose time of thirty-one years the church was enlarged and improved. 
It had been burnt with the rest of the town, only the walls remain- 
ing, and was rebuilt, p^6oo being granted by S. P. G. for that pur- 
pose. A fine water color drawing of the church in 1834, before the 
additions were made and when there was a spire, is in possession of 
a resident. The present incumbent, Rev. Archdeacon McMurray, 
has been fifty years in the ministry, thirty-five of them having been 
spent in this charge. The many tablets on the walls form a history 
in themselves. 

St. Andrew's has not so romantic a history, but dates from 1794, 
as shewn in a curious old volume of thick yellowish paper, giving 
most of the business transactions of the congregation from that date, 
the money subscribed for first church, size of windows, timbers, etc, 
throwing curious light on prices in those days of rope, glass, rum. 



work. This frame building was totally destroyed by the fire, ^400 
being allowed by Government as compensation. There was a school 
house in connection with the congregation, and here they worshipped 
till 1832, when the present church was erected. The record touches 
at many points the history of Canada in War of 181 2, Rebellion, 
Clergy Reserve agitation, etc., there being petitions to the Queen, 
Governor General, etc., demanding rights as British subjects. One 
letter from Rev. Dr. McGill, afterwards of Montreal, speaks of the 
hardship of his not being able to perform the marriage ceremony 
till special legislation could be obtained. The Rev. Dr. Mowatt, now 
of Queen's University, was also a minister of this church. 


Another interesting incident connected with this neighborhood 
is that of the brave deed of Laura Secord, in walking from her home 
at Queenston to warn FitzGibbon at Beaver Dams of a projected 
attack of the enemy. In danger of meeting Indians, marauders, 
wild beasts or the enemy, she walked nineteen miles on a hot June 
day, and when the attack came, through her timely warning, the 
enemy surrendered to a force half its size. This has been woven 
by Mrs. Curzon into a fine ballad, and also into dramatic form. It 
has also been sung by Miss Machar, Reade, Dr. Jakeway. 

Many other romantic incidents might be narrated that have 
happened in the neighborhood, but this paper has already stretched 
far beyond the limits intended. Fourteen stories written for a prize 
competition lately by young people of the town gave incidents 
" pathetic and grave and grotesque." The sad story of the loss of 
seven young men in the yacht Foam at the entrance to the river, the 
drowning of six soldiers with their captain from the fort, the pathetic 
story of the two boys from Toronto who tossed about in the icy 
April atmosphere of Lake Ontario from Toronto to Niagara, and 
who were found on our shore frozen stiff and stark and cold : of an 
Indian lacrosse match held 'here, the humorous story, "Just For 
Fun," of the fire in Fort Mississagua, the story of "That Stone," of 


an historic house, and many others, shew that we are rich in historic 
lore, could it only be gathered and published. To develop a true 
love of country in our young people is a worthy task, and our coun- 
try owes a debt of gratitude to the Lundy's Lane Historical Society 
for what it has done in this respect. A country whose sons have 
done and dared and suffered so much to repel aggression, to maintain 
its own form of government through a century, may well feel proud 
of its record as a Province, and that it has done its share in our 
Dominion, thus sung by a writer lo me unknown : 

" Canada ! Mapleland, land of great mountains, 
Lakeland and riverland, land 'twixt the seas — 

(jrant us, God, hearts that are large as our heritage, 
Spirits as free as the breeze. 

Grant us Thy fear, that we walk in humility. 

Fear that is reverent, not fear that is base. 
Grant to us righteousness, wisdom, prosperity. 

Peace, if unstained by disgrace. 

Grant us Thy love, and the love of our country. 

Grant us Thy strength, for our strength's in Thy name ; 

vShield us from danger, from every adversity, 
Shield us, oh Father, from shame. 

Last born of nations ! The offspring of freedom, 

Heir to wide prairies, thick forests, red gold — 
God grant us wisdom to value our birthright. 

Courage to guard what we hold." 





The story of a tree that rears 

Its form o'er an historic plain, 
The sights it sees, the sounds it hears, 

That story's gay or sad refrain. 

O lone tree on the rampart's height ! 

What hast thou seen, what canst thou tell, 
Of peaceful watch or desperate fight, 

O lonely, lonely sentinel ? 
But tell me first, what sweet, fair sight, 

Extending far and wide before, 
Thou seest from thy vantage height, 

O lonely, lonely sycamore. 

Afar, the lake spreads like a sea, 

And near, the river, broad, blue, deep. 
Its waters flowing silently, 

As resting from their frantic leap. 
Nor distant far, the mountain crowned 

With column pointing to the sky. 
While all forgot the humbler mound, 

Where other heroes mouldering lie. 

A skirt of oak in nearer view. 

And hawthorn, white with fragrant bloom. 
And tall sweet-briar, wet with dew, 

Wild flowers with many a nodding plume. 
Beneath the hill the children bring 

Their little cups, and eager press 
To drink the water at the spring, 

Where grows the tender water-cress. 

In front, a plain of changing hue. 

In winter white, now bare and brown. 
Or gra.ssy green, with herds in view. 

And to the west, the quiet town. 
Beyond, the fort and beacon light. 

Old Mississagua's square grey tower. 
On either side church spires rise bright. 

O'er stately home or humble bower. 

Beneath, the crumbling ruins old, 

Where first our hero Brock was laid. 
With funeral pomp in death-sleep cold. 

And tears were shed and mourning made 
For him, who, with the morning sun. 

Went from these walls, erect and brave ; 
The evening saw hi'i victory won, 

A hero's fame — a soldier's grave. 

*There stands a fine large sycamore in full view at Fort George. Its branches, 
waving to and fro, seem to speak of the memories of former years. 


Here, where the bank falls sheer and steep, 

The Half-Moon Battery may be traced, 
Alike commanding shore and deep, 

A scar of war not yet effaced. 
A path o'er-arched with trees we gain. 

Nor did it all their dreams suffice 
To call that path the " Lover's Lane," 

The grove around was " Paradise." 

Nay, call it not their partial pride, 

Where can ye find a spot so fair ? 
Italian suns have scarce supplied 

Such sky, such stream, such beauty rare. 
Tell us the sounds that come to thee. 

Borne by the breezes as they fly. 
The shout of schoolboy wild set free. 

The sportsman's gun, or plover's cry. 

Or lover's fondly-whispered vows. 

The roar of guns in mimic strife. 
The rustling of the forest boughs. 

Or varying sounds of human life. 
The bugle's call, so clear and sweet, 

From neighboring fort by breezes blown, 
Gay laughter when pic-nickers meet. 

Or on the beech the wave's wild moan. 

The quiet dip of idler's oar, 

The sweetly solemn Sabbath bell, 
The distant cataract's softened roar. 

All these, oh, lonely sentinel. 
Or will thou tell of nations four, 

Alternate owning this fair spot ? 
Thou knowest much historic lore. 

Then tell thy tale ; refuse us not. 

Or is it far beyond thy ken 

When Indian wigwams here were seen. 
And red men roamed o'er fell and fen. 

And trail or war-path followed keen ? 
Didst see the brave La Salle pass on 

To seek the Mississippi's wave ? 
And how, ere Abram's heights were won. 

Yon fort was won — won many a grave, 

Ere gallant Frenchmen yielded here 

To Britain's power their heritage, 
Johnson, the red man's friend held dear, 

Thou saw'st successful warfare wage. 
The loyal refugees here press. 

Leaving their lands, their homes, their all, 
Deep in the solemn wilderness. 

To hew new homes at duty's call. 



And here our country's fathers met 

In humble legislative hall ; 
But soon arose day darker yet, 

When foeman held these ramparts all. 
Then came a day of fear and dread 

When winter snow robed dale and down ; 
And mothers with their children fled 

In terror from the burning town. 

But soon returning peace brought round 

More prosperous, happy, golden days, 
And from the shipyard came the sound 

Of hammers beating songs of praise. 
Those days are gone ; gone, too, we fear, 

The busy mart the live-long day. 
Nor sound of vulgar trade is here, 

And " Lotos Town," they sneering say. 

But no — thy life's a shorter span ; 

Thou canst not all the secrets tell 
Of brave, or rash, or erring man, 

O lonely, lonely sentinel. 
Where once the pagan rite was seen. 

Or French or Indian warlike bands. 
Where fratricidal strife had been, 

Two Christian nations now clasp hands. 

Long mayst thou stand, O stately tree, 

Outlined as boldly 'gainst the sky ; 
As thou hast often gladdened me. 

Cheer other hearts as years pass by. 
As from my window now I gaze, 

Thinking of many a ramble wild. 
With friends of other, earlier days, ' 

Far past thy fort with walls earth-piled, 

I send a wish and prayer that thou 

Mayst live to see and live to tell 
Of brighter days than even now, 

solitary sentinel. 
May other school girls love thee well, 

They surely cannot love thee more. 
And be thou long their sentinel, 

O lonely, lonely sycamore. 

Niagara. Janet Carnochan. 


The letter, of which the following is a copy, taken from the 
original document in the library of the Parliament Buildings at 
Toronto, by the kindness of Rev. W. Logan, M. A., was written by the 
Hon. Peter Russel, Administrator of the Government, to Mr. Peter 
McGill, Treasurer of the Province of Upper Canada. It gives us as 
through a shiftmg scene glimpses of the times of one hundred years ago, 
the houses, amusements, manner of communication between Toronto 
and Niagara, severity of the winter, the thrifty ways of our fore- 
fathers, the procrastination of one official and the methodical ways 
of another. It is to be hoped due provision was made for the 
twenty-five : 

"Niagara, 14th December, 1796. 

" Dear Sir, — As the Legislature is to meet at York the first day 
of June, it becomes absolutely necessary that provision shall be made 
for their Reception without loss of Time. You will therefore be 
pleased to apprise the Inhabitants of the Town that Twenty-five Gen- 
tlemen will want lodgings and board during the Sessions, which may 
possibly induce them to fix up their houses and lay in provisions to 
accommodate them. Those two detached houses belonging to the 
Government House must at any Rate be got ready, the one for the 
Legislative Council, the other for the Assembly. The Bars, Tables, 
and other articles belonging to them I shall direct to be sent over 
hence. The house appropriated for the Legislative Council can be 
occasionally used as a Council Chamber. I beg likewise that you 
desire Mr. Graham to examine the two Canvas Houses and report the 
practicability of removing the best of them to the Town, to be raised 
there for giving Dinners in to the Members of the two Houses ; Mr. 
Pilkington tells me that the Screws which fasten them together will 
no longer act, and that larger ones must be provided if they are 
again removed. We must therefore know the expense before the job 
is undertaken, and calculate whether a temporary building with 
Boards, so constructed as not to injure the materials, may not be 
cheaper and more commodious. If this should prove to be the 
case the Canvas Houses may stand, and with Major Smith's permission 
I will consign this Quarter to the Chief Justice and his Friend, the 
Rev. Mr. Reddish. Should anything material occur to require im- 
mediate communication with me from Major Shaw, Major Smith or 
yourself, you will be pleased to inform Major Smith that a Trusty 



man of his Garrison must be sent off with the Packet to the head of 
the lake, and the Corporal there must dispatch another from thence 
with it to this place. The Expense attending the express to be 
vouched by Major Smith and paid under my orders by my Secretary. 
The same course will be followed from hence during the winter 
through Major Shank. Our weather has been hitherto remarkably 
sharp for the time of the year; ever since the 26th November con- 
stant severe Frost and much heavy snow ; only four days thaw. The 
ground is still however covered, and the sleighing very good, which 
will in all probability last for the winter. I am sorry you suffer so 
much personally from the cold, but hope the ladies may be able to 
enjoy the charming carroling you must have in your bay and up the 
Yonge St. Road, and to the Humber, and up the Don to Castle 
Frank, where an early Dinner must be picturesque and delightful. 
Mr. Small does not seem to have any Inclination to participate with 
Mrs. Small in the charming winter excursions, or he would certainly 
make haste to get the Council Book forward, but it still hangs in 
much the same situation as when you left it. I really tremble for 
him, as our chief is a man of business and Method, and will not 
submit to these idle procrastinations. I wish you may be able to 
read this scrawl, but, Mr. Barns being gone to attend Mrs. Hamilton's 
funeral, I cannot have it copied. You have no doubt heard of Mr. 
Jarvis's misfortune in having great part of his house burnt, by which 
he has lost store and property to the amount of at least ^500 
Halifax. None of ihe public Records absolutely perished, but the 
seals are brocken from many of the Deeds and more of them trampled 
upon and dirtied. Our best compliments to the ladies, and believe 
me to be, dear sir, your most faithfuU and Obedient Servant, 

" Peter Russel. 
"P. S. — The Commander in Chief refuses to pay for any of the 
repairs, &c., to the Garrison of York. They must consequently 
become part of the civil expenditure of this Province, and be in- 
cluded in your account. — P. R." 






Carnochan, Janet 

Niagara one hundred yea